abonoCARE® – Materials and technologies for nitrogen recovery from aqueous material streams

In the “abonoCARE®” project, nine small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have joined forces with six research institutions in order to develop economic value chains for nutrient recycling from organic residues and to offer sustainable high-performance fertilizer products for efficient agriculture. For this purpose, different technologies for the processing and formulation of organic residues are being developed.

abonoCARE® Logo

Organic residues to advanced nutrients

Precipitated struvite crystals, REM image.
© Fraunhofer IGB
Precipitated struvite crystals, REM image.
ePhos® piloting at a wastewater treatment plant.
© Fraunhofer IGB
ePhos® piloting at a wastewater treatment plant.
Electrodialysis.
© Fraunhofer IGB
Electrodialysis.

Challenge

Agriculture requires significant amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus to ensure long-term nutrition and yields. Until now, mineral fertilizers containing these nutrients have mostly been produced chemically or extracted from mines, processed and transported on a global scale: an energy- and cost-intensive production route. At the same time, large quantities of nutrients accumulate during wastewater treatment, animal husbandry or in biogas plants. As sewage sludge, liquid manure, dung or fermentation products, they cause significant environmental problems due to their local concentration.

 

Goals

In order to recover nutrients from organic residues for agriculture and to reduce the negative environmental impact, a consortium of companies and research institutes is developing appropriate technologies in the abonoCARE® joint project. The aim is to develop economically viable value chains for nutrient recycling from organic residues and to be able to offer sustainable high-performance fertilizer products.

 

Solution

For this purpose, a membrane contactor process developed at Fraunhofer IKTS is combined with the superheated steam drying (SHS) process developed at Fraunhofer IGB to remove nitrogen from gaseous and liquid media in situ.

In addition, an electrochemical process for nutrient recovery from digestion residues or wastewater is being developed at Fraunhofer IGB by combining the electrochemical ePhos® process with electrochemical separation processes, such as electrodialysis. Electrodialysis can be either used to increase the phosphate concentration for the subsequent ePhos® process – as planned here in the abonoCARE® pilot plant – or be operated downstream of the ePhos® process to concentrate residual nitrogen and potassium salts into a liquid fertilizer.

In the current work, these processes are integrated into a demonstrator together with the biogas production process with percolation (partner GICON) and a partial denitrification process (Faserplus process) developed by the partner GNS.

Project information

Project title

abonoCARE® – Materials and technologies for nitrogen recovery from aqueous material streams

 

Project duration

April 2019 – March 2022

 

Project partners

  • Gesellschaft für Nachhaltige Stoffnutzung mbH, Halle (Saale), (Koordination)
  • Großmann Ingenieur Consult GmbH, Dresden
  • wks Technik GmbH, Dresden
  • Glatt Ingenieurtechnik GmbH, Weimar
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB, Stuttgart
  • Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS, Dresden

Funding

We would like to thank the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) for funding the project "abonocare", promotional reference 03WKDI3C.

Federal Ministry of Education and Research.